Now that 2011 has expired, it is time to look back at the year that was. I didnt travel too much this year, but that was ok, as elite names were roaming the streets of Vancouver throughout the year... now only if I had ran into some of them.
20 - Ellen Degeneres
I managed to get the talk show icon twice on her trip to Vancouver, including the 1st autograph I got in which I had to run 4 blocks to get after being given up to the second info on where she was. Few if any autographs I got this year took more energy out of me than that 1st 1 I got from her. Next day, she signed again and was happy to do it.
19 - Axl Rose
For a long time, I had heard nothing but horror stories about the lead singer for Guns N Roses. So I was not eager to go for him. However, this past time thru Vancouver, not only did the band actually play the show they came here to play, but Axl was even a willing signer. Pretty much anyone that went for him here got him.
18 - Simon Pegg
While here for Mission Impossible 4: Ghost Protocol, Mr. Pegg was the most often seen of the films stars. Whether it was at the airport, his hotel or the movie theatre, the Hot Fuzz star signed whatever was asked more often than not.
17 - Henry Cavill
The new Superman has been very good here so far. Although he is strict about limiting his autograph to 1 per person each time you see him, he has still been terrific in the interactions people have had with him.
16 - Cast of Sanctuary
Never had a bad experience with this cast, this year was no different. Whether it was at the Leo Awards, the airport or a charity event, each member of the cast was exceptional.
15 - Cast of The Secret Circle
This cast could have made the top 10, if it werent for 1 exceptionally bitter & sour life hating senior cast member of the show. That exception aside...the rest of the cast has been terrific with us.
14- Matt Barr & Aly Michalka
I miss Hellcats. Not just because of the campy cheerleader drama storylines. But because 2 of the nicer celebs we have had in Vancouver in a long time left when the show did. While some other cast members were a lot less thrilled to interact with fans during the shows 1 year run, Matt & Aly were as accomodating & friendly as you can expect. Class acts.
13- Cast Of Supernatural
Much like Ms. Torv from Fringe, the cast of Supernatural, whether its Jensen Ackles, Jared Padalecki, Misha Collins, Jim Beaver or the recurring characters of the show have been quite good to us Vancouverites when we run into them. Long as the regulars respect the no asking them on set policy, they are more than receptive to signing and chatting with us away from set when we see them.
12 - Leo Awards
This years award ceremony for BC film industry was not as spectacular as past ones I had hounded. Much of that was because of an unexpected change of venue & the loss of 1 or 2 shows since last year. Still, a list of names came out that made the effort worthwhile.
11 - Amy Adams
I had heard that Ms. Adams was a very willing signer, but till I saw it for myself, I didnt understand just how good she was. She willingly signed for everyone till there was nothing left out there to sign. She did it too with a smile. Wish all movie stars could have that level of appreciation.
10 - Booboo Stewart, Myanna Buring, Julia Jones, Guri Weinberg
This past year, the final installment of the Twilight Saga series, Breaking Dawn 1 & 2 was filmed here. In the years prior, some of the bigger names in the film were at times, pretty decent signers. This year however, there was VERY FEW great interactions with the cast. The names above were the very few I can say were outstanding. Considering how massive the cast was, its sad you can count the great experiences on 1 hand. Not to say ALL the others were terrible, but that they didnt neccesarily stand out as great.
9- Cast Of Fringe
The cast of the hit FOX show Fringe is generally friendly (the occasional grumpy Mr. Noble encounter not withstanding) the true star from a fan interaction aspect is usually Anna Torv in past years. Despite seeing the regulars probably 100+ times combined over the shows run here, she still willingly signs for us, even at the absurd time of 5:30 AM. This season, Seth Gabel became a regular and skyrocketed up along side his Fringe co-star for terrific interactions. Joshua Jackson, Jasika Nicole & others are terrific as well.
8 - John Schneider
Although from an excitement standpoint, getting Mr. Schneider wasnt overly high for me (I was a Dukes of Hazzard fan..but not a massive fan), it was how wonderfully personable he was each & every time that won me over. My 1st interaction with him was 1 of the rare "I wasnt expecting that" situations where we were at the airport for persons unrelated, and saw a sign for him there. Knowing he was coming in for an episode eventually, we waited to see if it was him, it was. He happily signed then. Seeing him 2 more times after, he was just as gracious each time after, even at the Smallville wrap party, where some of the bigger stars were nothing short of rude, Mr. Schneider was 1 of the ones that made the fans waiting out there happy.
7 - Cast Of Once Upon A Time
Usually when new TV shows roll into town, odds are someone on the cast thinks more of themselves than they actually are. Not so with the cast of the new ABC fantasy drama Once Upon A Time. Each & every cast member I have met has been terrific with interacting with the fans & the pros. It was the overall attitude of this cast that made me hope for it to do well...I'm glad it is succeeding, this cast deserves it.
6- Sharlto Copley
The District 9 star is simply, awesome. How awesome is he with fans? After a flight that was the better part of a day, he stopped, chatted with fans at the airport, did photos with, and even cracked a few jokes. So awesome he did an autograph session for a local African import store "African Breese Imports" just because they asked...and at the autograph session, he had no qualms signing stacks for fans, collectors or dealers alike. One guy plopped down 30 or so photos, Sharlto went thru the entire stack, not once groaning about doing it and thanked the guy for coming afterwards.
5- Callum Blue
Being a huge Dead Like Me fan, I still get a bit excited when I meet any of the cast. This past year, I had a 4th (or 5th?) chance to meet Callum Blue. He was in town reprising his Smallville role as Zod. What made this meeting stand out more than others prior though was how it went down. I first learned he was going to be coming back..I then contacted him thru a site I knew he was a member of that I too was a member of. He replied back with when he was coming. I then tried, several times, but without success, to cross paths with him naturally. So I gave him another message & he told me what day he would be off. So I tried that day, called his room & he answered & came right down. In the pouring rain, he stood, signed, and chatted with my friend & I for several minutes.
4- Chloe Moretz
At 2010 TIFF I had Ms. Moretz high on my list of people to get...but she cancelled. This year however, Hit Girl was there, and made up for the year long wait. One of the best signers at TIFF. Even with volunteers telling her she had to go, she still kept signing.
3- TIFF - The 2011 Toronto International Film Festival
Individually, several of the events from Tiff could make this list, and a couple I did list individually. But for the mostpart, the entire event of the Toronto International Film Festival falls under 1 event for me. So thus, why it is going here. This years fest was certainly my most successful from a star power aspect, and total wise, it was close to my best. Stars like George Clooney, Megan Fox, Madonna, Nicolas Cage & Ryan Gosling made the event quite successful for me. It was the newer names I wasnt as faimiliar with before going that made some of the more cool moments though, like Chris Pratt, Ezra Miller, Dominic Monaghan and Sarah Bolger who all made me fans of them with the way they handled their attention.
2 - Tom Cruise
While I did get a disappointingly low total of 2 autographs from someone I was told "signs everything", a lot of that wasnt any fault of his or really mine either. It was just dumb luck. Still, I managed to get 2 from him, which was still 2 more than most hounds in Vancouver got from him. The 1 and only night outside the trade & convention center unfortunately turned out to be the 1 and only chance Vancouverites got to get the Mission Impossible star. He made the waiting worth it though, as Mr. Cruise strolled over to a crowd of 20-30 people (which swelled to 75-100 when extras & crew came over too) around midnight & did a 20-30 minute meet & greet with fans, taking photos & signing autographs. Each interaction he made feel special, he asked fans to make sure their photos turned out and even acknowledged autograph requests with a level of respect, and not just a "ugh, fine" mentality to it.
No disrespect to Mr. Cruise, but at the end of the day, a rare, hard to obtain signature is a bigger deal on average than a classy, easier to obtain star.
Anytime you get someone of Madonna's level of fame, its probably going to make your best list. The Material Girl has been known for quite awhile as, at best, an unwilling signer. However, when you are promoting a movie you directed & has been panned by many critics, you are on your best behaviour.
That is what fans in Toronto got when the pop icon was there to promote W.E. this past Summer for TIFF.
Madonna signed probably 75-100 autographs on the red carpet, and signed at dinner a bit later after her event as well.
Some honorable mentions should go out to the likes of Patrick Gilmore, Rose McGowan, Daniel & Henrik Sedin, Ben Cotton & Lyndsy Fonseca.
So, that concludes 2011. Some amazing successes for me. Granted, there was some downright failures as well. I somehow never got Matt Damon despite him being here for 2-3 months. All my Saoirse Ronan autographs were ruined by an ugly fading silver sharpie. I missed Robert DeNiro AGAIN by mere inches, and same with Brad Pitt this time.
Who will grace the list at the end of 2012? Going into 2011, there wasnt a lot of "sure things" I could see making the list. To be honest, most of the list is a complete surprise, simply because I didnt know going into 2011 these people would cross my paths.
Every event, there are celebs who are simply better & who are worse at interacting & respecting the fans, pros & random passerbys. This year was no different.
With so many things going on at the same time during TIFF, as many as 4 premieres were sometimes going on at the same time, it was impossible to cover them all & experience each & every celebrity there. So its very likely someone else would have a fairly different list than mine. But, with around 100 hours of hounding in the books for me, I feel this is a fairly well rounded list.
So, I give you MY list of the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival Best & worst list.
1- Justin Long - Not only did he talk to anyone who wanted, he signed, took photos with, talked to fans friends on the phone, and did the entire line of his red carpet. While his co-star used the excuse of having to get into his premiere but would be right back out, Long also said the same thing... but he actually DID come out.
2- George Clooney - Two premieres, both of them he signed down the entire row at the red carpet. Its absurd to think I know, but yes, he is that nice.
3- Chris Pratt - Such a nice guy. Won over many fans on his arrival, his presser and red carpet for Moneyball by being so friendly & patient.
4- Ezra Miller - Flashy wardrobe aside, this guy is super class & very chilled guy. Came out of his press conference & gave a fan some chocolate he was given inside, chatted for a couple minutes & when he heard a punk rock legend was inside the hotel nodded in approval & said "now thats someone I wanna party with".
5- Chloe Moretz - Although not everyone got her going into her premiere because of the terrible set up they had there, she tried her best to get as many as she could, and did the same leaving.
6- Megan Fox - She did a great job on the carpet again. She might not have spent quite as much time as last year, and her autographs were far less spectacular this time around, but she still won over a lot of fans with her red carpet actions.
7- Anna Faris - She was as cool and friendly as I hoped she would be. Just disappointed I didnt have anything for her to sign when I saw her arrive.
8- Nicolas Cage - Even in pouring rain, Nic stopped, signed autographs & did photos with people while leaving dinner. At his press conference he was just as good.
9- Paddy Considine - I had no clue who he was, but helped another hound get him. As it turned out...he probably didnt need my help, as Paddy stood there and willingly signed everything he had.
10- Willem Dafoe - Despite me coming up behind him and taking him by surprise, he stopped and willingly signed everything I had.
11- Geoffrey Rush - With the exception of seeing him going to a premiere that he was late getting to, Mr. Rush was terrific in all the other interactions I had with him during TIFF
12- Ryan Gosling - Although I got as many autographs from him as George Clooney on the same red carpet, George was just better at it. Ryan certainly won over a lot of fans though.
13- Alexander Skarsgard - Despite the rabid furvor for this TV star, the man handled it all quite well and more importantly, was a willing signer, and patient.
14- Dominic Monaghan - A small crowd of people noticed him at his press conference going in. He stopped, waited even for the 1 girl who had stuff for him to find it, then signed it all. Very pleasant.
15- Sarah Bolger - Her entire cast might have been 1 of the best signing casts there, but for me, this Irish beauty was the best of the bunch.
Honorable mention - Kim Coates, Asia Argento, Sarah Gadon, Selma Blair, Madonna, Hugh Dancy
1- Woody Harrelson. - even Woodys mom isnt shocked to hear he was again a class A douchebag. No autographs, limited to 0 interaction in general.
2- Gael Garcia Bernal - For someone with only ONE big movie in his career, he thinks a lot of himself. I saw him sign ONE autograph for a crowd of 10 or so.
3- Chace Crawford - He should see a doctor about his irrational phobia of sharpies. Signed MAYBE 8 autographs at his premiere. For someone that anyone over the age of 18 cant ID, thats pathetic.
4- Hugh Laurie - Every TIFF someone disappoints me. This yr, Dr. House. I heard reports he didnt even acknowledge the crowd at his premiere going in, on the way out, I saw what the meant. A half assed head up & wave to the crowd leaving was all he greeted people at his premiere with.
5- Ashley Greene - Is it any shock to anyone that this self portraiting nude model turned wannabe celeb mattress & part time actress got booed at a party by the fans? Afterall she snubbed them all there, and had minimal interaction at her premiere too.
6- Mia Wasikowska - When she showed up for TIFF, 1/2 the people didnt even care about her, but she acted like she was Madonna or Brangelina. I heard reports at her premiere that she was even WORSE than when she arrived.
7- Rebecca Hall - Signed about 10 autographs at a premiere that had MAYBE 150 people at it. Clearly she has no interest in trying to win over fans for her movies.
8- Kyle McLachlan - Did I seriously see the guy best known for playing the captain on How I Met Your Mother sign 3 total autographs at his premiere??? Yes, sadly.
9- Jonah Hill - Although Mr. Hill was allegedly nice leaving town, he was a jerk entering it. He carried himself like someone who was coming off his 5th consecutive Oscar. More shocking was the absolute nobody friend that he came with who acted like HE was a star and was speaking for Jonah, lipping off fans for Jonah, and sticking his middle finger up in the back of pics with Jonah. If Jonah has a functioning brain, he will disassociate with this "friend" before his rep gets anymore battered.
10- Elizabeth Olsen - I realize it has to suck being the unknown sister of the worlds most famous former TV twins. But it doesnt give you a licence to be a bitch. Was not very receptive upon arriving in town, was poor at her premiere, and horrible upon leaving it.
11- Arielle Kebbel - I give her kudos for taking a few seconds to talk to a little girl. All those kudos are lost however when you learn she immediately snubbed the ONE person who was waiting for an autograph right there as well.
12- Pearl Jam - Entire band signed ZERO autographs total between them. Outside of a vague hand wave from Eddie Vedder, they didnt really even give the fans anything.
13- Neil Young - Although he signed a lot leaving his event from what I heard, going in, the Canadian legend signed a grand total of ONE autograph.
14- Channing Tatum - Although I heard he did sign a few early on upon arrival, I saw Channing sign exaclty ONE item that wasnt a magazine or piece of paper. Perhaps he did sign some more earlier on & assumed he got everyone? I dont know, all I do know is, in the several minutes I saw him, he dodged requests to sign normal items. His excuse of "I have to get in to my premiere..I'll be back out" cements his spot on my list when you see my #1 best.
15- Rachel Weisz - she turned down a request to sign for 3 whole people the 1 time I saw her. She did say "when I come out" unfortunately, no one was there for her when she came out to see if she followed thru on her statement.
Dishonorable mention - Glenn Close, Alexis Bledel, Ewan McGregor, Alicia Silverstone, Kim Cattrall,
Top 5 moments
1- Got Madonna. I never sit & wait on red carpets. Its not value efficient. But for a glimmer of a chance to get 1 of the top 10 names on the planet, yes, I put in 4.5 hrs sitting around in 1 spot waiting. It paid off. The material girl gave me 1 of the 75-100 autographs she doled out at her premiere. My position even helped nab an Abbie Cornish autograph as well to top it off.
2- Getting 4 George Clooneys & 4 Ryan Goslings at Ides Of March premiere. A red carpet that most of the pros called "impenetrable" and rightfully so with its massive crowd, I managed to sneak in and out of areas by simply thinking ahead of the crowd to get each star 4 times.
3- Getting 6 Chloe Moretz at Hick premiere. Last year Michael C. Hall was my top want of TIFF, this year, it was the girl who played Hit Girl. Like Hall, she did not disappoint.
4- Seeing myself everywhere on advertisements. TIFF had a variety of promotional photos around town (and on my flight there in the in flight mag). One of them features me in the background. I saw it everywhere, magazines, posters, wrapped around a pilar, 25 ft tall wall mural outside the TIFF building...and even on elevator doors.
5- Meeting Ezra Miller and Chris Pratt. Neither of these guys had I ever heard of going into TIFF, but both made such great impressions on me, I am planning to go check out some of their works now. Pratts coolness overshadowed Jonah Hills prickness enough that I probably will still see Moneyball.
Bottom 5 moments
1- Didnt get Robert DeNiro again. Last yr at the press conference he signed to the left of me, and above me. This year, he did the EXACT same thing...except, this time on the red carpet.
2- Getting Saoirse Ronan.. in dying shitty useless silver pen...twice. Near the top of my want list, I should be happy....but the pen ruins the items. Instead of keeping 1 & selling 1, I now have two that I'm selling.
3- Going for Neil Young...instead of waiting around at Killer Elite premiere, where Jason Statham came back out. Neil stiffed the crowd, Statham, someone high on my want list, came back out after his red carpet interviews & signed for everyone.
4- Not going for U2. Bono & The Edge racked out, and I was talked out of it with the misguided logic that the crowd was going to be too big.
5- Not having stuff for the likes of Piper Perabo, Anna Faris or Chris Gorham when I saw them.
Below is a bunch of pics of some of the actresses that attended TIFF 2011.
Below are pics of some of those in attendance.
Melanie Griffith (with Antonio Banderas), Melanie & Antonio again, Juliette Binoche, Selma Blair, Alexis Bledel, Sarah Bolger, Kim Cattrall, Jessica Chastain, Lily Cole, Abbie Cornish, Abbie Cornish again, Anna Faris with Chris Pratt, Anna Faris, Megan Fox, Megan Fox again, Satrah Gadon, Rebecca Hall, Arielle Kebbel, Arielle Kebell again, Stacy Keibler, Madonna, Chloe Moretz, cast of The Moth Diaries, Allison Pill, Saoirse Ronan, Yvonne Strahovski, Mia Wasikowska, Shailene Woodley
Day 2 of the fest started at the brand new press conference venue. The TIFF Bell Lightbox, the festivals own personal multi-purpose venue, held the press conferences this year that hotels did in the past, and in short...it sucks.
The 1st press conference was for Moneyball, and only because they werent sure what to do yet were people able to get anything.
Several of the cast showed up. Only Brad Pitt (who signed about 20 for the 75+ people there) and Chris Pratt (who signed for anyone who asked) signed much of anything. Philip Seymour Hoffman signed a couple, Jonah Hill ignored everyone.
After that, they started taking the people in thru an underground entrance, and that was the end of 1 of the places I often was able to get 20-30% of mt TIFF autographs from,. the press conferences.
After that, I got a text to come down the street, and showed up just in time to get another Johnny Rotten autograph as he left an event at the CBC building.
After a lunch break, I went to a hotel to wait around. Saw Bryce Dallas Howard come out, but in a shocker...she denied. I am stunned still. Used to be all class. A little while later Christopher MacDonald (Happy Gilmore - "Shooter McGavin") came in, did photos with a couple of fans. Then saw Ezra Miller again. He chatted with us for a bit, and when we told him Johnny Rotten was in the building, he got really excited. Clearly a big Sex Pistols fan Ezra is.
Saw Arielle Kebbel arrive for an event, but outside of taking a couple photos with and chatting with a little girl for a couple moments, she did little to acknowledge the small amount of people there.
John Lydon left the hotel, got another autograph. He was being told by his handler to "only sign for the girls" but still signed for us anyways...even though you could see he was maybe getting short on patience with so many photos & albums everywhere.
Went to the premiere for Megan Fox and Jon Hamm, just like last year, I ran out of items for Fox. Hamm I managed to squeeze out 2 in the surprisingly large crowd. A common theme this TIFF has been, crowds are larger all around. I would say 25-30% more people everywhere.
We quickly hustled across to another venue and snagged 1 Juliette Binoche autograph.
Across the street we tried for the back end of the Moneyball premiere letting out. I saw Eddie Vedder leave the event, but he didnt sign for anyone.
I then saw Stacy Keibler arriving for the next premiere that her boyfriend George Clooney was in that would soon start doing their red carpet work.
Cast were starting to show up for The Ides Of March premiere. First few smaller cast showed up, the crowd was massive and impossible to penetrate for such small potatoes. So I let the likes of Paul Giamatti go and was walking away to go check on Pitt again when I saw the row of vehicles still waiting to do the red carpet. First was Marisa Tomei, who no shock (heard multiple reports shes a terrible sginer) wouldnt even accomodate requests from the small crowd of 7-10 girls waiting down there to roll down the window for a picture. Her vehicle then left on its trip up the red carpet.
Next up was George Clooney. The girls asked Goerge to roll down his window. He didnt roll it down though...instead, the aging sex symbol got OUT OF HIS SUV and proceeded to start signing and taking photos.... for the whole line. Must have been 500+ people there, I am sure 300+ of them got an autograph or photo with the star. While he was busy signing, Ryan Gosling showed up and started doing the line from the other end, he too went down the entire line, although he was a little more selective on signing, and for the mostpart just did handshakes. I somehow still managed 4 autographs from each of them, despite the sometimes 6 to 8 people deep crowds of onlookers who for whatever reasons felt compelled to take cameraphone pics of the top of the stars heads, or even worse, pics of the other cameras in the crowd pointed in the stars direction. To these people, seriously? If you arent there trying to get an autograph or a photo with...why stand there, you can find a farrrr better photo of the situation on google the next morning. all you are are doing is clogging up an area for people who have a purpose and know what they are doing.
Shortly after Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie left together, rolled down their windows and gave a wave to the crowd waiting, they then left for their party.
After that, I went to the Brad Pitt after party for a bit, but was outwaited by them, as I had to leave to go back to Hamilton. The day started slow...but decent end.
Total for day 2. - 19 autographs. 2 day total - 32
A+ George Clooney
A+ Ezra Miller
A+ Megan Fox
A Chris Pratt
A- Ryan Gosling
B- Brad Pitt
B- Juliette Binoche
C+ Philip Seymour Hoffman
C+ Jon Hamm
C Christopher MacDonald
C John Lydon
C- Arielle Kebbel
D Bryce Dallas Howard
10- Anytime I saw Tom Hardy
Quite literally 6 months ago I did not know the name Tom Hardy. With a role in Inception firmly on his resume now, and a 3 month pit stop in Vancouver to film This Means War with Chris Pine, its hard not to know the man who has already been penned in to a role in the upcoming Batman movie The Dark Knight Rises now.
What makes Hardy so memorable is, he truly likes everyone. He doesnt let Hollywood politics decide who he will & wont be nice to. Some of the people Tom was friendliest with while here were autograph hounds & paps. Always said hi, chatted with us & didnt at all seem phased by the cameras being focused on his work while he was on set.
Everytime I saw him, he made the meeting memorable. Whether it was chatting for 20 minutes about filming stunts on other films, or play sparring with a pap while in fight make up just after a scene, Hardy was always an adventure to meet.
Even with the miserable Reese Witherspoon trying her hardest to make people hate the film, Hardy and his free caring personality likely won over far more people than Witherspoon alienated.
9- Getting Stargate Universe cast going to & coming back from Gemini Awards.
The entire cast (minus 1 or 2) of Stargate Universe went to Toronto for the Gemini Awards & a couple promotional events. Knowing now that the show was going to be prematurely cancelled, I am glad I took this 1 last chance to meet them.
Almost every single member (Alaina Huffman being the 1 exception, as her husband frowned with disapproval) was happy to stop, sign & take photos with all that were out there. Robert Carlyle & Louis Ferreira chatted with us before departing, as did the likes of Julia Benson, David Blue, Ming Na & Brian Jacob Smith.
Upon their return, the group was just as excited. Patrick Gilmore regaled us in how the weekend unfolded. Telling us about stories with cast members in the hotel playing human bowling. Elyse Levesque talked about the show & that her group "Coupla Hot Chicks...Maybe Three" would soon be working on a new video. Julia Benson chatted at length about Canadian television & many of the challenges of it.
Each cast member seemed genuinely happy to see us. It is a rare thing for us to have an entire cast be so great. I am truly disappointed this show was unjustly cancelled so soon.
8- Roger Waters in Vancouver
One of the largest living music icons came to Vancouver this year. Roger Waters, of Pink Floyd fame was here for a show.
Waters just the day before coming to Vancouver made a very public statement on his facebook page telling anyone who would listen, that he would no longer be signing anything but albums, and would only personalize, in an effort to prevent reselling.
With little to no notice, the hounds of Vancouver were ready for this still. Armed with albums, CDs & official tour merchandise, the man who just 2 days earlier told the world he didnt want to sign for professionals, willingly did it every time he was seen. In fact, his only issue was whether the item was something official or not. If it was an album, CD or item from the tour, he would sign it without hesitation. Items that he may not have received any payment for however, he did abide to his newly enforced rule.
Even on his 3rd time stopping, with many of the same faces coming up, neither his handler or him griped about it, he did it with a smile on his face & thanked most people for coming...even though he had to know that most of them were still professionals.
Funny story, I had the chance to go for him in Toronto, and didnt. I admit, it was one of the less smart things I have done in my hounding career...certainly near the top of the list for this year.
7- The 2010 Leo Awards.
Sure, its not the Academy Awards, but in Vancouver, there is probably no larger annual awards event than this. The Leo Awards celebrate TV & Movies in British Columbia, and it actually gets a reasonable list of talent at it.
With stars like Twilight castmates Chris Heyerdahl & Jodelle Ferland, former Smallville star Kristin Kreuk and Sci-fi stars Amanda Tapping, Lou Diamond Phillips, David Blue & others there, it gives local hounds a chance to see a lot of the local actors that you dont always get to see because of their shows being primaraily done in studio.
This year, I did far better than my last endeavour to these awards...mostly, because I was more prepared. Getting lots of autographs from the cast of Sanctuary, Stargate Universe, as well as Jodelle Ferland, Lorne Cardinal & Kristin Kreuk, the day was a big success.
It was also the first time I would meet the girls from "Coupla Hot Chicks.. Maybe Three" (Elyse Levesque, Devon Weigel & Leah Gauthier) so, all in all, pretty great day.
What I really like about this event is that the public is welcomed to stand right up near the red carpet, where the entertainers do their interviews & can get autographs & photos right there. Considering it is at a venue that has on multiple occasions over the years gotten in actual fist fights & called the cops on autograph seekers, it really says a lot about the class the Leo Awards has to essentially tell the staff at the venue "back off its all good".
6- Getting Simon Pegg at the movie theatre
Recently, Vancouver has had some notable names in town for films. While the attention for filming Mission Impossible 4 will certainly be centred on Tom Cruise, his co-star, Simon Pegg made the biggest impression so far with the locals,
On his arrival to town, Pegg signed several items per person at the airport. Later that week, he tweeted he was going to see a movie. The detective skills of the group went to work & 3 of us summarized it was going to he at this theatre & this was the showtime that made sense.
Sure enough, the Hott Fuzz & Shaun Of The Dead star, came out from the movie & was greeted by 3 of us waiting for him. He happily took the time to sign and do photos with. He joked with us that it was some good detective work.
He thought so much of our skills, he tweeted about it moments later. http://twitter.com/simonpegg/status/10519962170953728
"Kudos to the enterprising young Canadians who figured out what cinema I was in and waited in the lobby. That's quality stalking that is."
I have seen Pegg 1 more time since then, and he againw as all class, signing without hesitation... even with the handler for Jeremy Renner there chirping about people selling. Neither Renner or Pegg seemed to care. Maybe 2011 Pegg can make the list again?
5- Stephen Colbert brings The Colbert Report to Vancouver
Yes, this did happen during The Olympics. I am aware. But this was not an official Olympic event, so it is technically, a different event.
Stephen Colbert, the satirical pundit on the Comedy Central hit show "The Colbert Report" brought his show to Vancouver for 2 days during the Olympics. Colbert brought the show up north after his show & the city of Richmond had some back & forth banter when Mr. Colbert (a major sponsor for the U.S. Olympic Speedskating team thru donations from his fans at Colbert Nation.) attacked the city for unfairly giving Canadians the chance to practice on the Olympic rink and not other nations in advance of the games.
With a setting in the middle of a field in a small park only a couple minute walk from the Olympic Village, Socchi World, Canada Hockey House & GM Place, it was a huge party type atmosphere at the free admission event. Thousands of fans came both days to the event. many came with signs, and some, like myself, came with items for him to sign.
The first day Mr. Colbert arrived moments before his taping in a van & pulled up along the impromptu road to the impromp pathway they had set up for him to get in. Colbert got out of his van & immediately starting signing for fans. With a mob like mentality of dozens of people pushing & clamouring to get their item infront of Mr. Colbert, he never once got annoyed, concerned or upset over the mob like mentality, infact, seemed to perhaps eat it up. He signed his way thru the mob & signed down the fence till he was into his tent where he prepared for the shows. Upon leaving the venue after the show ended, Colbert was less receptive to signing, as he only signed 2 total items (1 being mine) & was soon on his way.
Day 2 he again showed up, with security a little more prepared this time, the autograph chances were more limited upon arrival. But he made up for it during breaks & after the event, as he signed everytime he would go to or come out of his tent during breaks on the backside of the stage where some people chose to stand, since the front was literally 100s of people deep. After the show ended, Stephen did 1 final massive signing, where he went all the way around the back, back across the front, around the back again, along the pathway & off into his van. It is hard to imagine that anyone didnt get an autograph from the man if they truly wanted 1.
4- Getting Jim Beaver to sign his book "Life's That Way"
As a huge Supernatural fan, when I found out the man that plays Bobby Singer had a book out, I was curious. When I found out the material in it, I was eager to find it. I am not a big reader of books. It was in fact, the first book (that wasnt filled with stats or top lists) that I had purchased in more than a decade without the intent of reselling it.
The book is a collection of emails (most of them in the raw form, some revised slightly) to his friends & family over the course of a year updating them on his wifes battle with terminal cancer that eventually would claim her life, their daughter coping with the major changes, and his own feelings & fears. It is a very moving, and real book that makes you cry as often as you smile.
My next goal was to get it signed....but that turned out to be more of a challenge than I ever expected. It appeared after I bought the book, tracking down Mr. Beaver turned into quite the challenge. On no less than 2 occasions, I thought I had him. Even with back up on 1 occasion, he managed to sneak by (not on purpose).
On the last unsuccessful mission, I actually let my friends paranoia get to me & thought maybe Jim was being deceptive in tweets to avoid being seen coming in. What happened next I would rather not get into again...but lets just say, Jim & I had some words in private (not bad, just miscommunication & just dont feel like repeating the details) where I explained how I felt about a situation, he described that he meant no ill will...and it ended with him offering me a time & place to get the book signed.
It was early morning & he was heading back to Los Angeles after filming an SPN episode, and sure enough, he came out of the drop off vehicle, instantly saw me standing there & immediately came over to sign my book, my photos & my friends photos. He apologized for any confusion, I apologized for even making an issue out of it. He went on his way.
Most stars would simply shrug their shoulders at your misfortune & would not think twice of it. But Mr. Beaver went beyond what was expected by responding to me, then exchanging messages & offering a solution. You really cant ask for much more form someone.
3- Conan O'Brien in town with his Legally Prohibited From Being Funny On TV tour.
While 2010 saw the end of the shortened Tonight Show With Conan O'Brien, it was a sort of blessing in disguise for his fans in other areas of North America. After a couple months of sitting around & tweeting, the man who has become "Coco" to his legion of fans decided to take his show on the road.
O'Brien embarked on a 32 city tour. The idea of the tour was not for him to get rich, but to give his devoted staff, many of whom followed him from NYC to L.A. when he changed NBC timeslots, work after the sudden firing. Coco had 2 Canadian stops on the tour, 1 in Toronto, and 1 in Vancouver. The Vancouver stop ( a 2 show stop) was the 2nd on his tour & came just a day or 2 after TBS announced they had signed the funnyman to a deal to man a talk show for them.
I was lucky enough to see his first performance here in Vancouver, and from someone who often gripes about the price of live events, the $100 price tag for my last row in the lower level ticket, actually seemed like a deal by the end.
What made the event more special was the fact O'Brien was exceptional with autograph requests, photo ops & even joked around with photographers & fans alike when approached. By the 2nd day of his show, Conan was familiar with me, and still, didnt hesitate to sign for me, or take a 3rd photo with (1st looked dreadful, 2nd had too much light...so 3rd time was the charm). Stories of him signing & taking photos with fans on the patio of the restaraunt he ate at the day after his 2nd show tells you all you need to know about how cool he was.
Shortly before he left town, I saw him 1 last time out with a friend getting into a cab after hat shopping. Most celebs dont go out of their way to acknowledge people they have only seen a couple times. O'Brien however, in a cab on his way back to the hotel, several blocks from where I had just seen him, rolled down his window, gave me a smile & a wave as he drove off to his destination.
2- The 2010 Toronto International Film Festival
If I took the names that were there individually, probably 1/2 my top 10 list would be made up of this event. But I decided it was 1 event, and even though the likes of Sam Worthington & Michael C Hall probably deserve their own spots, they go in with this entry.
Like the Olympics, it was a long, nearly non-stop event that saw me get little sleep. unlike the Olympics, every day started & ended with a 1 hr bus ride to & from to where I was staying. Also, unlike the Olympics, where the amount of autograph hounds numbered in the low teens, this was an event where the hounds numbered in the 20s or more at times.....along with 100s or 1000s of onlookers & fans.
The likes of Sam Worthington & his "I dont care what you are doing with it" attitude, signing everything put in front of him & doing it with a smile, and some smart ass comments, like when he called me a "lying fucker..... I dont care, just curious really, its all good" after I insisted I didnt know what his graph was worth, then proceeded to keep signing, or how a really cute Japanese girl asked him to take off his sunglasses for a photo with & without hesitation he repllied "sure, if you take off your top" & although I am sure he was serious in the trade off, he didnt actually demand the trade off & still removed his glasses for their photo with anyways, made the lack of sleep most times worth it.
It was exciting to get Michael C Hall, who was my top priority going on & see that he was a really nice guy on top of it. Even in the press row of his after party, Mr. hall took the time to answer a couple quick questions for me on camera & posed for a photo with.
With the effort every adventure at TIFF takes, getting ANYONE, at times seems like a small victory. Like the night I got ONE autograph total. Sally Hawkins. She ho was a mere couple inches away from leaving me shut out that night, but came back to sign for me when she realized I was the only 1 standing out there with an actual item of her to sign. Good thing she did, because the rest of the night still goes down as my WORST TIFF night ever. Names like Clint Eastwood, Anthony Hopkins, Matt Damon, Woody Allen & Josh Brolin were out, 3 of themw alked right past where I was, NONE of them stopped to sign. if it werent for Hawkins, it would have been a complete disaster.
Of course TIFF has all sorts of cool 1 off fluke hounding ventures. Like when I got Jill Hennessey on a street corner after her & her sister had done an impromptu busking performance infront of a building for a TV interview. Or meeting Yeardley Smith at 1 party, while waiting for people coming to another party across the street. But at the end of the day, its the premieres, the airport & the parties where success is had mostly.
While all anyone really cares about at the end of the day is how well the Eastwoods, DeNiros, Springsteens & Hopkins of the festival were, its the small little victories that make the Fest fun & rewarding. A 4 hr nightmare trip thru Hamilton & Toronto transit inconveniences that shut you out of 2 other events can be redeemed slightly by 1 great outing at the Easy A premiere & running out of items for Emma Stone... an event that I didnt originally think I would be doing because of scheduling conflicts. Or the night that I got over 20 autographs from two A list celebs at 1 premiere, Megan Fox & Mickey Rourke both were exceptional signers that night & I did so well with them, I started helping out other hounds with their stacks.
My stats this year were up from my first TIFF. While the quantity of elite names I got was smaller than I really hoped for, it was still IMO a great success, a lot of that can be put on the shoulders of Sam Worthington, Michael C Hall, Mickey Rourke & Megan Fox.
1- The 2010 Winter Olympics.
I looked forward to this for 8 years, and it lasted less than a month. Now almost a year has gone by & I have had a chance to reflect on it, it was pretty awesome....even with the severe foot aches, lack of $$ & occasional lack of sleep.
How many times in your life do you get to experience a massive worldwide event in your hometown? For most, MAYBE once? Maybe. For me, its been twice now, Expo 86 was the first major event in Vancouver I experienced. It wasnt a hounding venture, but it was a major building tool in my youth. Now the 2010 Winter Olympics. A combination of hounding & elite sports in my town for 17 days? Its as if Christmas came 17 days in a row for a sports fan & autograph hound.
For every Lindsey Vonn, Sidney Crosby, Wayne Gretzky & Katerina Witt I hounded during the games. The names people know & idolize, there was the likes of Shiva Keshevan, Britteny Cox & Slovakian Womens hockey team, who in many cases, probably wouldnt be recognized in their own countries, let alone Vancouver with 2000 other notable names roaming the streets. They were often just excited that someone recognized them & I loved that rarely seen humility in an athlete. They truly appreciated anyone that noticed them, they didnt scurry away into an awaiting vehicle, or look for an alternate pathway to avoid people, they ate it up. It was those experiences that overshadowed the Jaromir Jagr, Shawn White & Steve Yzerman's of the games.
I got to experience hounding the Gold Medal winning mens & womens Team Canada hockey teams...on their home turf the day they won their medals. Theres literally a handful of people & I really do mean a handful, in the entire city who can claim the same. It is certainly an experience that might never happen in Canada again, at least with the elite of the elite in the tournament.
My totals during the games were far less than I had envisioned (budget had a lot to do with it) but I got a lot of cool items signed, some were profitable, some were clearly for keepsakes, and the best thing of all is, 75% of them I got less than a 10 minute walk from my house.
With 2010 in the books now, 2011 will be full of new experiences that I probably never expected to have. The only real sure thing I knew going into 2010 was that the Olympics were coming, but I did not know how good or bad they may be. Everything else on the list... was an unknown surprise before the eyar started. Can 2011 be better than 2010? Unlikely. But, I also didnt think 2010 would be as good as it was either. I guess we'll see in 12 months just what was worth talking about.
Heres a few pics from the premiere at the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival of "Passion Play" starring Megan Fox, Mickey Rourke (The Wrestler) and Bill Murray (Ghostbusters)
While Fox and Rourke were quite exceptional with the fans, their co-star, the grouchy Bill Murray was as miserable as they get. His demeanour & attitude was that of someone that just watched their family get beaten to death infront of them on the drive over.
While Rourke was great on the red carpet, even joking fans & being candid about this film compared to his more recent successes like The Wrestler, Fox actually was possible even better. These two did everything humanly possible to cancel out the cancerous attitude of Murray, a well known long time, worst signer staple.
Every event has people who were simply better & who were worse at interacting & respecting the fans, pros & random passerbys. This year was no different.
With so many things going on at the same time during TIFF, as many as 5 premieres were sometimes going on at the same time, it was impossible to cover them all & experience each & every celebrity there. So its very likely someone else would have a fairly different list than mine. But, with around 100 hours of hounding in the books for me, I feel this is a fairly well rounded list.
So, I give you MY list of the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival Best & worst list.
WINNER- Sam Worthington - All toll I got 17 autographs from the Avatar star. I got a photo with. He joked with the few of us standing at his hotel on the final day of my fest. His choice for Top spot of the fest was in my opinion, undebateable.
2- Michael C Hall - The Dexter star was terrific on the red carpet, signing practically everything asked...despite knowing he had signed for people prior. At the airport, the reports had him signing 3 items per person. At his after party he signed again, he took photos with & even took a few seconds to respond to my breif questions about how he thought the film was.
3- Megan Fox - The Transformers star was a red carpet signing machine. The 11 autographs I got from her was my all time single person high at TIFF till Worthington blew her out of the water.
4- James Caan - The Godfather star was an exceptional signer going in to and coming out of his press conference.
5- Mickey Rourke - The Wrestler star may have had a pretty ugly autograph, but he was more than willing to scrawl it on everything asked...and thats better than not signing at all.
6- Aaron Eckhart - Saw The Dark Knight star on multiple occasions & he was always willing to sign.
7- Amber Heard - Was a very willing signer at her Midnight Madness premiere for The Ward.
8- Danielle Harris - Was very willing to sign, take photos with & pose for photos for the fans who came out to her Midnight Madness premiere for Stake Land
9- Sally Hawkins - She came all the way back out of her vehicle to come & sign my photo after she realized I was the only person there with a specific item for her.
10- Sarah Silverman - Although her co-star Michael C Hall was the star of the show with the fans, the sexy comedienne worked the crowd well also, signing whatever was asked.
11- Nicole Kidman - Saw the 3X Golden Globe & 1 time Academy Award winner sign a plethora on 2 different occasions. Probably the best signing legend of the festival.
12- Lyndsy Fonseca - The sexy Kick Ass/HIMYM star signed & took photos with anyone who asked at her premiere.
13- Emma Stone - The Easy A hottie was a great signer on her red carpet. The autographs may have been less than spectacular, but she made sure everyone got 1.
14- Hallie Switzer - When Modra director Ingrid Veninger came out & handed out postcards to the awaiting fans at the press conference hotel for her star to sign, Switzer was put in a position of having to suddenly sign a plethora of autographs, despite few knowing of her before then. She handled it quite well.
15- Helen Mirren - The screen legend was a decent signer at both of her premieres.
Honourable mention- Yeardley Smith, Judy Greer, Penn Badgley, Rachel Blanchard
LOSER- Eva Mendes - When you cant do a roll down for ONE person, then RUN past 5 people a few minutes later at a different venue, then snub a dozen or so upon departing that venue. Dont do photos with anyone, and to top it off, have an autograph session the day prior where you wont sign anything but the specified item your giving out and wont allow photos with or even to have fans interact with you...your a grade A bitch.
2- Clive Owen - Upon arriving in Toronto he put on a stone faced look that as 1 hound stated "he looked like his mother just died" while he walked the 50-75 yards to his vehicle. Ignoring all requests for autographs, photos with, or questions.
3- Frances Conroy - Someone thinks 1 Golden Globe 6 years ago actually means something. The haggard old bitch didnt sign going into her press conference, despite being the first one to show up by quite awhile...then refused to sign leaving either. All while less than 5 people either time even cared to ask her.
4- Bill Murray - Shocker. The Ghostbusters star refused all requests for autographs going into his premiere. He is a notoriously terrible signer.
5- Jeremy Renner - Imagine Frances Conroy, but younger & male, and without the Golden Globe. Few people cared about him, and he put in no effort accomodating the minimal requests.
6- Winona Ryder - Perhaps she was in a hurry to get away after stealing something every single time? I dont know, but she sure made every effort to get away from sharpies wherever possible. Despite not having a single role that even her agent could name since 1999, Ms. Robber...err, Ryder insisted she would only sign for children....because we all know KIDS are huge fans of all those epic recent movies shes done like...umm?
7- Natalie Portman - Natalie didnt sign, nor really even acknowledge the fans at her press conference. I however heard she signed some on her red carpet arrival at least.
8- Vera Farmiga - The very unknown actress who had less than 10 people asking her refused to sign going in to her premiere & snuck out while larger names were busy signing.
9- Clint Eastwood - As a director, you think you would want to leave your premiere with good PR. But Clint didnt...instead, stiffing dozens of fans & collectors who had waited up to as much as 9 hrs in a cramped pen, all so he could attend a party.
10- Josh Brolin - snuck out of his premiere to avoid the dozens of fans who waited hours to see the stars leave.
11- Anthony Hopkins - see Josh Brolin.
12- Woody Allen - Only difference between him & Clint is, he had a legitimate excuse for ditching the fans. He had a plane to catch
13- Matt Damon - ONE autograph total, which he looked truly annoyed to be doing & a shrug of the shoulders is all the 70-100 fans waiting out back on his departure got from him.
14- Freida Pinto - She signed less than 10 autographs on her red carpet arrival. Sad that her boyfriend, who wasnt even in the film, was able to sign far more than her.
15- Jon Hamm - Signed a small handful going into his press conference, then ignored everyone leaving...despite telling the crowd on the way in he would get everyone leaving.
dishonorable mention - Vincent Cassel, Patrick Wilson, Malin Akerman, Ryan Phillippe
Top 5 moments
1 - Meeting Michael C Hall at his after party & getting a photo with.
2 - Meeting Sam Worthington at 9:30 AM on my final day of film fest & getting him to sign everything I had & do a photo with.
3 - Getting an autograph from Jill Hennessy only a block from where I was standing thanks to reading twitter.
4 - Sally Hawkins coming back out of her car to sign for me after he premiere.
5 - The director of Modra, Ingrid Veninger giving out promo postcards to the crowd for her movies star, Hallie Switzer to sign.
Bottom 5 moments
1 - Wasting my time chasing the likes of Clint Eastwood, Woody Allen, Matt Damon, Anthony Hopkins & Josh Brolin, when I could have gone to a few other events & got a handful of other people I could have used as well.
2 - Attempting to get Malin Akerman after her movie & only having her drive by & wave...despite less than 10 people being there.
3 - Seeing Rosamund Pike come out of the hotel & realizing I had taken my photo out of my binder prior to then.
4 - Having Eva Mendes drive by me & not sign, or roll down the window for a photo or anything, despite me being the only one there for her.
5 - Missing the likes of Robert De Niro, Keanu Reeves, Nicole Kidman, Harvey Keitel and a few others by mere inches because of random dumb luck.
I occasionally argue with inanimate objects, but I usually win. So its all good.